England time for Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs 0

Soccer - Kieran Gibbs File Photo

I discussed this on Saturday, and so in that respect I’ve already nailed my colours to the mast - at the moment, Ashley Cole is England’s best option as first-choice left-back. Leighton Baines does a lot of good work on the pitch, but while I’m a great admirer of his offensive ability and his set-piece technique, he just isn’t good enough defensively for international football.

We know about Cole, we know what he can do and what his strengths are: he’s been tested internationally time and again, and so there’s very little need for him to start against Germany tomorrow night.

Instead, isn’t it time for Kieran Gibbs to be given an opportunity? If not to compete for a starting spot, at least to stake a claim for his plane ticket to Brazil - England won’t carry three left-backs, so it’s going to be an either/or situation between him and Baines.

I know the caveat with Gibbs - he can’t stay fit, but it’s not really fair to prejudge a player on that basis, and if he’s fit and available tomorrow night, surely he warrants a look by Roy Hodgson?

This isn’t some young, developing player who I have a hunch about, this is the incumbent left-back for the league-leading side who also possesses substantial Champions League experience.

Where is the justification for this being just a ‘Cole versus Baines’ fight - no, Baines will be 29 next month, so he is in no way Cole’s long-term successor. Gibbs only has 2 international caps to his name which, if you think about, is quite staggering - and it doesn’t amount to a fair opportunity.

Start him against Germany; he’s a better technical player than Baines, he’s younger and fitter than Cole, and it’s time to see whether he measures-up at the next level.

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